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Annette L. Stanton, PhD
Professor, Psychology and Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
Member, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of California
Los Angeles, California
- Seeking to improve quality of life through evidence-based interventions that promote the health and well-being of women during and after breast cancer treatment.
- Ongoing studies are aimed at understanding the barriers to adherence to therapy, the challenges of living with metastatic breast cancer, and factors that lead to depression after a breast cancer diagnosis.
- These studies will inform effective interventions that can extend the lives and improve quality of life in patients with advanced breast cancer.
Every woman’s breast cancer journey is unique to her, but many women face some of the same issues, such as adherence to therapy that causes side effects, depression and anxiety. These impact a woman’s breast cancer outcome as well as her quality of life through, and beyond, treatment. Dr. Stanton’s research is focused on understanding and promoting quality of life throughout a woman’s breast cancer journey.
Full Research Summary
Dr. Stanton has several ongoing studies aimed at improving outcomes and quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis. These include improving adherence to endocrine therapy in early breast cancer to managing life with metastatic breast cancer.
Her studies have shown that practicing a strategy to maintain adherence (reminders that tamoxifen can prevent recurrence, for instance) can help women stay on their therapy. Her studies also stress the importance of social support and support from her oncologist in reducing the risk a woman will experience depression, which can affect her adherence to therapy.
Dr. Stanton’s research has further shown that women who were able to accept their diagnosis and express their emotions had the lowest risk for depression. This year, her team is translating their findings into action by creating and testing approaches to prevent depression and promote treatment adherence in women living with breast cancer.
Women living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) have reported many concerns regarding their well-being, such as disruptions to daily activity and uncertainty about the future, as well as concerns regarding psychological health, confidence in managing their disease, and ability to incorporate healthy behaviors.
Dr. Stanton is testing an intervention specifically for women with MBC called Project Connect Online, in which patients create personal websites to chronicle their experience and communicate within their social networks.
New in the coming year, Dr. Stanton will initiate studies of quality of life in African American women with breast cancer. Her focus will be on thoughts and behaviors associated with being strong, i.e. suppressing emotions or taking care of others before herself that may impede an African American woman’s health and well-being after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Annette L. Stanton, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, senior research scientist at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and a member of the Center for Cancer Prevention and Control Research in the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research centers on specifying factors that promote psychological and physical health in individuals who confront health-related adversity, including cancer, infertility, and other medical conditions. She is particularly interested in the conditions under which specific coping processes promote or hinder health and well-being. In the area of psychosocial oncology, Dr. Stanton conducts longitudinal research to understand the influences of personality and contextual resources, cognitive appraisals, and coping processes on the quality of life and health in individuals diagnosed with or at risk for a range of cancers, including cancer of the breast, eye, lung, and prostate. She then works to translate her findings into effective interventions for individuals living with cancer through conducting randomized, controlled trials of psychosocial interventions. In 2003, Dr. Stanton received the Senior Investigator Award from Division 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association, and in 2012-13 she served as President of Division 38. In 2013, she received the Society of Behavioral Medicine Cancer Special Interest Group Award for Outstanding Achievement in Behavioral Medicine and Psycho-Oncologic Research. She has received awards for undergraduate teaching and graduate mentoring. In 2006, Professor Stanton was honored with the J. Arthur Woodward Graduate Mentoring Award and the Distinguished Teaching Award in the UCLA Department of Psychology.